Fade To Black: Don’t Look For The Time Warner-CBS Blackout To End Soon

August 6, 2013  |  

Can’t get CBS on your TV lately? Well, if you are a Time Warner Cable subscriber in New York, Los Angeles or Dallas you could be without CBS Corp programming for several weeks, reports Business Insider.  The two companies are no where close to settling a fee dispute.

Time Warner Cable cut CBS programming last Friday, affecting an estimated 3.5 million customers, including golf fans who missed Woods’ major win in the Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday.

CBS, the No. 1-rated U.S. broadcast network, is home to hits like The Big Bang Theory and NCIS. And according to the network, there are no talks taking place at the moment, but it is “ready to negotiate in good faith.” Time Warner Cable announced it regretted the inconvenience to viewers and aimed to resolve the situation “as soon as possible.”

According to industry analysts, the dispute is over how much Time Warner Cable should pay to carry CBS and the battle could last until the start of football season in September, when millions of viewers rely on their cable providers to watch primetime games.

The fall is also when many new season shows begin airing. CBS plans to start its fall lineup on September 18 with the premiere Survivor. Other CBS primetime shows launch their seasons beginning September 23.

“The longer (CBS) waits, the more they don’t get a chance to promote their fall lineup in the two biggest cities in the country,” BTIG media analyst Rich Greenfield told Business Insider. CBS has fought back against Time Warner Cable by suspending videos of full episodes on CBS.com for customers with Internet access provided by the cable company in affected markets.

Politicians are even speaking out. Both New York City mayoral candidates City Comptroller John Liu and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn have called out Time Warner Cable and CBS for what has become a caustic and public fight. While the government may eventually step in, programming blackouts have become more common in the United States as TV networks fight with cable or satellite service providers that pay “retransmission fees” to transmit programs nationwide.

“Last summer, satellite operator DirecTV’s 20 million customers were unable to see more than 20 of Viacom’s cable networks for 10 days. Fox went dark for 15 days for more than 3 million Cablevision customers in 2010,” reports Business Insider.

DirecTV has sided with Time Warner Cable’s decision to drop CBS programming.

Do you miss your CBS?

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